Briefing Note to review the current responses to illegal drug use.
Background Context: In NSW six people, aged between 18 and 23, died after taking pills at music festivals between September 2018 and December 2019. In QLD, a 24-year-old man and 22-year-old woman, died at the Rabbits Eat Lettuce festival in April 2019. The festival had moved to QLD due to tightening of laws surrounding music festivals in NSW. In July 2019, the NSW Coroner held an inquest into the NSW deaths; the inquest is underway at present. There has been no inquest conducted in QLD. Australia’s national approach to drug policy is one of harm minimisation; the federal government released its National Drug Strategy 2017-2026 in 2017. State governments have tried a range of policy initiatives to address drug related deaths at music festivals, including increasing visible police presence and more stringent requirements on promoters. Most recently, in 2018, the Groovin the Moo Festival held in Canberra was the first in Australia to trial pill testing. This was conducted in order to reduce harm to those who choose to participate in taking pills at music events. The results of this first trial were positive and led to a second trial, which the QLD Government sent down a representative to observe. Due to these recent deaths, the QLD Government has decided to review existing approaches and consider new ones to avoid further deaths at music festivals. Task: The QLD Premier has requested a Briefing Note to review the current responses to illegal drug use at music festivals and consider the best approach for the state going forward. To complete this assessment you will need to complete independent research to develop various policy options, including a specific recommendation. You will need to follow the very specific template provided, and meet the detailed CRA. Your work will benefit from drawing upon a range of government and scholarly sources, such as departmental reports and peer-reviewed journal articles. Here are some introductory media resources to introduce you to the topic before beginning your own research (do not cite these in your Briefing Note): SMH article ‘NSW Coroner to hold hearing into music festival deaths’ ABC News – Health article: ‘Six claims about pill testing—and whether or not they’re true’ Brisbane Times article: ‘Pill-testing ‘would send the wrong message’, LNP convention hears’